POLL-EVIL. This disease derives its name from its situation, which is between the poll-bone and the first vertebra of the neck, and is produced by a mangy horse rubbing his head under the manger, and sometimes lifting it up suddenly when frightened; also by hanging back upon his halter. Repeated injuries of this kind produce, at length, inflammation of the first vertebra of the neck, and the matter that forms in consequence, being so completely confined, spreads and renders carious the under surface of the ligament of the neck, as well as the posterior part of the occipital bone, and sometimes of the atlas or first bone of the neck also. This disorder then is precisely of the same nature as fistula of the withers, and requires a similar treatment. But it would seem that the poll-evil is caused rather by an overstretching of the neck, or by a frequent effort to extend the ligaments which connect the first two bones of the neck, or those which unite the two first bones of the head.
Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835
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